Following up their publication of Charles Portis’s “Motel Life, Lower Reaches” online, the Oxford American brings us a speech in verse by Jay Jennings, the editor of a recent compilation of Portis’s work (which our own Bill Morris reviewed). Jennings delivered an ode to Portis to mark the author winning the Porter Prize Lifetime Achievement Award. Sample quote: “But you read the next book because the main character was from Little Rock,/and you knew no other book where the main character was from Little Rock/and you wanted to write a book about Little Rock.”
Here are the first lines of the new Gary Shteyngart novel, Super Sad True Love Story, forthcoming in July: “Today I’ve made a major decision: I am never going to die. Others will die around me. They will be nullified. Nothing of their personality will remain. The light switch will be turned off.”
You should check out George Saunders’s “Liner Notes” piece about “2776: A Musical Journey Through America’s Past, Present & Future,” which is set to accompany a forthcoming musical-comedy album from Patton Oswalt, Aubrey Plaza, Ira Glass, and Yo La Tengo, among others. If that hasn’t sold you, consider the fact that Saunders’s piece contains this line: “Truth be told, there were a number of regrettable omissions. Beyoncé and Jay Z’s piece ‘Bomber’ had to be left off the album. (‘Driver of this plane, this / B-52 on the way to Nagasaki / Stuff your ears with cotton and / Close those eyes / Me and my man are about to do it all over this / Here bomb’).”
“My mind moves toward apocalypse fictions the way we think about a forgotten friend, or a partner that’s left us—grief becomes its own comfort.” Adnan Khan writes for Hazlitt about how apocalypse fictions mirror the immigrant experience and vice versa.
“It’s like a massive piece of denim, and with that denim you can make something really cool. You can make a jacket, you can make some cool jeans, or you can make a cushion or a cover.” When The New York Times decides it wants to define “punk,” you’d better get ready for some cringe-worthy responses. Here’s a Millions piece on Viv Albertine, author of Clothes, Clothes, Clothes, Music, Music, Music, Boys, Boys, Boys and no stranger to punk rock.